This Is America This is the World


Anita Endrezze

"This is not America!" said the parent of a child shot by a deranged man in the village of Dunblane, Scotland. Fourteen more were gunned down.

This is America. March 16: two white brothers
order a black man to strip
and jump into freezing waters.
This is America. March 16: Lawmakers see soldiers of the future:
armed warplanes, laser guns, computer backpacks,
sea-going missile launch pads, M16 rifle with heat sensitive night vision,
body armor, TV cameras to send back photos of the battle fields,
expandable body bags so that every mother's son can get the proper fit.
This is America. March 16: Man convicted in deaths
of two orchard workers, Alejandro Torres and Guillermo Herrera,
who were kicked to death
by Anthony Sammons who said he wanted to "go kill some Mexicans."
This is America. March 16: Spokane woman found murdered
in her apartment, motive unknown.
This is America. March 16: Eighty-one year old man dies
from heart attack after three teens tie him up and rob him.
This is America. March 16, a bad day, a day like today,
when a woman jumps off the 16th floor of the Paulsen Building
in downtown Spokane. This is America.
Three men beat a coin dealer.
This is America. This is a day in America.

And this is a day in the world.
Let us not forget our other children,
the ones who live in hovels of violence,
and the mansions where boys in white loin cloths
bend over backwards to male guests
among the baked tongues of peacocks, and sweet dates
served by girls in yellow sarongs.
And all over the world children are tying knots, chained to looms,
breathing glue from shoe factories, sewing blouses and cheap pants,
spreading their legs for rich businessmen on vacation,
sweeping, weeping, and all for the world,
the goods of the world, the piece work of the poor,
laying out the perfect pattern of bones,
aligning the seams of their hunger
and who is outraged at their deaths?

This is America and this is the world.
This is our problem and it's yours too.
This is what the world should mourn,
the way children everywhere
have lost their lives
at the hands of deranged men
who call themselves master, boss,
owner, husband.

Note: this poem was written to show that violence against children occurs everyday, as an institutionalized violence against their liberty and safety. Worldwide, more than 200 million children labor as slaves in various countries. It's understandable to be more shocked by random violence, but we should be aware of the daily acts of horror committed on those least able to help themselves

Unpublished (on paper)

© 1997 Anita Endrezze

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